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Thread: Tenure for sure after getting the econ phd?

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Tenure for sure after getting the econ phd?

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    This question came up to me from my experience in my university, but not in our econ dept. Two profs in our college did not get tenure, one got PhD from Berkeley (Physics prof) and the other from UChicago (Math prof). How come profs from such reputable organizations (most probably top 10 in their fields) do not get tenureship in a small less known Top 50 LAC?? Is the difficulty of getting academic job so difficult even in econ? I would be very happy if I could work in a Top 50 LAC, but bearing in mind they are from top-10 phd schools, what happens if I cant get into top 20 phd schools in econ, I would have to go for a tier 3 school to teach ?(which I would not definitely prefer)

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    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    It is become more and more common for tenure to not be offered to professors for several reasons:

    1. Tenure puts a long-term financial burden on the college and also guarantees some sort of medical benefits, whose cost has risen by over ten percent a year.

    2. Tenure eliminates most of the flexibility for a college to undergo a sweeping reorganization. All of the tenured faculty will have a job (or get bought out) no matter whether their department still exists. This makes eliminating small, financially unsupported programs difficult.

    3. Eliminating tenure forces professors to not relax after earning tenure and to continue meeting high scholarly standards. I know numerous cases of professors in economics who have not changed their teaching notes in decades, in spite of new theories...and this is much worse in some other disciplines.

    4. State governments (in the case of public institutions) and/or university trustees are pushing to cut back on tenured positions to help increase accountability. There have been strong movements from outside groups (mostly from the political right) to get rid of the academic 'deadwood' and have leaner faculty structures. As these groups often push for part-time and distance education, adjunct faculty seem to be the perfect fit.

    In the not-too-distant future, I would expect tenure to become a relic at most public and lesser-endowed private institutions. At the top private LACs, with their large endowments and tradition of treating faculty very well (and with trustees who are largely happy alumni), tenure should continue. Where budgets are a constant concern and trustees tend to be political appointments instead of alumni, tenure won't be around much longer.
    University of Wisconsin-Madison--Leaving with a master's degree

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    Within my grasp! sonicskat's Avatar
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    Don't think that them not getting tenure had anything to do with their pedigree. At most LACs, they pretty much don't care where you came from (to an extent) as long as you are a good educator. Chicago and Berkeley are fundamentally different schools than most LACS in that they have focused on their research, while your institution might stress teaching (as mine did). Also, personality might take on a greater role in this type of school since there is more interaction with students and more evaluations.

    At my LAC school we didn't have one professor from a top 5 school. The best pedigree was from the teens. With that being said, the best professors came from tier 3 schools or lower.
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    Bayern, why don't you apply to Finance PhD programs instead of Economics? Finance professors almost always get tenure, and besides, admission to Finance programs is waaaay easier... you've said it yourself many times in other threads... it must be true LOL!

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    really tuff

    Quote Originally Posted by gangstarap View Post
    Bayern, why don't you apply to Finance PhD programs instead of Economics? Finance professors almost always get tenure, and besides, admission to Finance programs is waaaay easier... you've said it yourself many times in other threads... it must be true LOL!
    Finance may be really another good choice
    But I don't have such a problem, because if I could get admission for Eco PhD and finish my study, I could come back to China to get into even the best university in China for teaching, because the Economics education in China is really not good.
    经世济民,孜孜以求.
    Southwestern University of Finance and Economics(SWUFE, China)

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    Tenure is far from a sure thing in top departments. I don't know how relevant this is to your question, but you may want to take a look at this report Princeton released in 2005. It's about gender, but it has some very interesting statistics about promotion rates.

    Of the assistant professors hired by the econ department between 1980 and 1994, 17 percent of men and 38 percent of women received tenure at Princeton by 2002. (Women were a very small fraction of all hires, putting the overall tenure rate somewhere around 20 percent, I think).

    This is relevant to your question because there's a spillover effect. When assistant professors at top-5 or top-10 schools are denied tenure at those schools, they are often offered tenure at a school slightly further down the rankings. And to make room for them, assistant professors at those slightly lower ranked schools may be denied tenure themselves, and shifted down the rankings a bit.

    Of course, this isn't always true -- some people move up the rankings at tenure time or before their tenure clock runs out at their original job. But since many schools hire more assistant professors per year than they have senior faculty leave, not everyone can be promoted or departments will become too large.

    Sorry this isn't directly on your topic, but it's interesting stuff and I thought people might want to see that report from Princeton.

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    These are all very interesting information actually. I never knew finance tenures are lot more easier to get. If someone could say the reason for that, it would be great. Also Sonicskat has a very good point about pedigree really doesnt matter for LACs (Although I do not much about this point, but it sounds quite reasonable)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonicskat View Post
    Don't think that them not getting tenure had anything to do with their pedigree. At most LACs, they pretty much don't care where you came from (to an extent) as long as you are a good educator.
    I don't think that is true, at least not of the top LACs (Williams, etc.). If it were, you would see these schools hiring junior faculty from all across the spectrum. Look at Williams as an example. Of their tenure track faculty, PhDs were received at Harvard, Columbia, U-Mich, UC-Davis, Princeton, UC-Boulder, Minnesota, etc. You can say that the UC-Davis and UC-Boulder degrees indicate that pedigree doesn't matter, but I would argue that if pedigree really didn't matter, then there would be more UC-Boulder-type schools and less Harvard.

    I think LACs want to be able to brag in their admissions brochures about how well qualified their professors are (in addition to how small classes are and what wonderful relationships students can have with faculty members). Incoming students and their parents are impressed by professors who studied at Harvard/Princeton/etc. More importantly, top LACs aspire to send their students to top graduate programs. Having faculty who studied at these same top graduate programs helps. (Not because you need LORs from alum to get in; because faculty who attended top grad programs are more familiar with what it takes to get in to those programs and succeed once there.)

    I don't think pedigree affects the tenure decision much. I think that is based on publications and, especially at an LAC, teaching reviews. But I do think that where you got your PhD affects where you are hired, and that PhDs from higher ranked schools are more likely to be hired by top LACs than PhDs from lower ranked schools.

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    Within my grasp! sonicskat's Avatar
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    I never said that pedigree has anything to do with the hiring process. I certainly agree with you there asquare. I was just discussing the tenure decision.

    It makes sense that lots of junior faculty from top universities do get jobs at good LAC schools. They are paid better than state universities and still allow them enough time to engage in their research. It is also much easier to find institutional funding. Lastly, it is a good safety net for them. If they can't move up the academic ladder too much and have a chance to get tenure at a cozy private school, they will probably lead a much better career as far as teaching and earning an income than at a big university.
    UVA-- A first year, no longer

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    sonicskat, then we agree I was just responding to this comment:
    Quote Originally Posted by sonicskat View Post
    At most LACs, they pretty much don't care where you came from (to an extent) as long as you are a good educator.
    I think LACs do care where you came from, though I agree with you that it comes out in hiring not tenure.

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